Court awards student $3,100 and orders Chrysler to pay off car loan

Court awards student $3,100 and orders Chrysler to pay off her $29,000 car loan on a lemon car that stopped working two weeks after purchase.
#LemonLawWins #ConsumerRights

Read more about it here: http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/Woman-Wins-Lemon-Law-Case-and-Gets-Refund-393589241.html 

Odometer Rollback Fraud On the Rise

Odometer rollbacks defraud American car buyers out of more than $10 billion every year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety (NHTSA). By rolling back a used car’s odometer from, for example, 120,000 miles to 30,000 miles, the value of a used car is fraudulently inflated to thousands of dollars more. Victims of odometer fraud are robbed of at least $4,000 per vehicle from breaking down and subsequent repair work.

What is an odometer rollback? When a vehicle transfers owners, the previous owner must give the new owner a written odometer statement disclosing the vehicle’s true mileage at the time of transfer. An odometer rollback occurs where a dealer or private seller alters the mileage on the car’s odometer.

Here are three ways to check your car for odometer fraud. 

  1. Check out the wear and tear on the vehicle. Does the wear and tear match the mileage?
  2. Have the vehicle inspected by a trusted mechanic.
  3. Using the VIN number, obtain the vehicle history report from trusted database services such as:
    1. CARFAX Odometer Check
    2. AutoCheck
    3. National Motor Vehicle Title Information System

Fighting Odometer Fraud

Victims of consumer fraud have several legal claims due to federal and state odometer statutes.

Under the Federal Odometer Act, odometer fraud is a felony. Further, a victim of odometer fraud may collect up to $10,000 or treble damages of 3 times the actual damages, whichever is greater, plus attorney fees and court costs.

Under New York Gen. Bus. Law § 392-e, a seller of a vehicle is prohibited from (1) providing a false odometer disclosure statement upon transfer of a vehicle; (2) misrepresenting true mileage driven to a transferee by disconnecting or changing an odometer or causing an odometer to be disconnected or changed, so as to reduce the mileage indicated; (3) removing an odometer repair notice.

Act Now

If you are a victim of odometer fraud, the Kasell Law Firm may be able to help you obtain damages. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please email me at David@KasellLawFirm.com or call (718) 404-6668. I look forward to working with you!

This material may be viewed as attorney advertising and does not constitute legal advice. This information does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the author. This article strictly represents the personal views of the author on the date it was written and such views are subject to change without notice.

Texas Congressman violated conflict of interest laws by benefitting own car dealership, House Ethics panel finds

Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas), a second-generation auto dealer, pushed legal changes allowing car dealerships to rent or loan cars with safety recalls. The House Ethics Committee found that Rep. Williams’ “personal financial interest in his auto dealership may be perceived as having influenced his performance of official duties.” The House rules state that members cannot use their influence for personal gain, financial or otherwise.

Read more about it here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/08/11/house-ethics-panel-finds-substantial-reason-to-suspect-auto-dealer-congressman-of-conflict-of-interest/

Staten Island Dana Ford Lincoln Dealership Refuses to Repair or Honor Warranty for Defective Ford Focus

“Transmission Error-turn off car for 7 minutes.” $28,000 lease for defective Ford Focus that shuts down unexpectedly. Staten Island Dealership refuses to repair or honor warranty agreement.

The Kasell Law Firm has taken on the case against Ford Motors for full lease refund and damages.
Read more about it here: http://www.silive.com/…/04/lawsuit_si_psychic_claims_ford.h…

The 2 Disclosures Used Car Dealerships Must Provide To Consumers

Used car sales are projected to rise in 2016, so is the possibility of deceptive auto sales and car dealership fraud. The danger of buying a used car is that it could have unfixed safety recalls that the dealership fails to disclose or a dealer failing to inform a consumer that the used car they just bought was once a taxicab. Luckily, New York  protects used car buyers from dealership fraud through laws designed to punish dealerships for preying on consumers. Here are: The 2 Disclosures Dealerships Must Provide to Used Car Consumers.

  1. Under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law 417-a, dealers must provide buyers with a written certificate of prior use if the used car was once a:
    1. Taxicab;
    2. Rental car;
    3. Police car; OR
    4. Driver education vehicle.
  2. Dealerships must provide buyers with a written certificate of nonconformity from the manufacturer or dealer if the used car was previously returned to a manufacturer or dealer for nonconformity to its warranty and the defect or condition was not fixed within a reasonable time as provided by New York Law.

Dealership Violation
The dealership violates New York Law if (1) the car dealer fails to provide the written certificates to a used car buyer or (2) provides used cars buyers with a document that has false or misleading information on it.

Remedy
If the dealership is found to violate NY V&T 417-a, consumers may bring an action to recover a judgment three times the actual damages suffered by the consumer or one hundred dollars, whichever is greater. Courts may also award reasonable attorneys’ fees to the consumer if the consumer’s action is successful.

Protect Yourself from Lemon Cars
The bottom line is, cars are a big life investment and fighting for your rights can be complicated.  Make sure you get everything in writing and keep all of the documents from the deal.  If something doesn’t make sense, have the dealership explain it.  If you think you are being taken advantage of or if the car is having problems that just don’t seem right for a car you just bought, contact a lawyer because you may be able to do something about it.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, please email me at David@KasellLawFirm.com or call (718) 404-6668. I look forward to working with you!

This material may be viewed as attorney advertising and does not constitute legal advice. This information does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the author. This article strictly represents the personal views of the author on the date it was written and such views are subject to change without notice. 

6 Easy Tips to Avoid A Lemon Car

This summer, you will undoubtedly see advertisements for new and used cars on billboards, flyers, newspapers and at your local NYC car dealerships. Perhaps the sight of the inflatable wavy wacky tube man will entice you to look at the shiny red convertible parked in front of the dealership. So, how do you avoid buying a lemon car?  Here are 6 easy tips to avoid a lemon car.

1. Ask Questions. More Questions,The Better.  

  • “How many miles does it have?” If the mileage is higher than 20,000 per year or lower than 5,000, ask why. A high-mileage car used on a long highway commute is better than if it did a lot of short trips or stop-and-go driving.
  • “How is it equipped?” Transmission type; A/C; antilock brakes; airbags; audio system; power windows, locks, seats, and mirrors; cruise control.
  • “What’s the car’s condition?” Start broad to see if the seller brings up something you did not think to ask.
  • “How about the body and interior?”
  • “Has it been in an accident?”
    • If yes, ask about the extent of the damage, the cost of repairs, and the shop that did the work. Serious accidents should be a red flag.
  • “Do you have service records?”
    • You want a car that has had maintenance performed at regular manufacturer-specified intervals. Ask for maintenance receipts for any new muffler, brakes, tires, or other “wear” parts that have been replaced. Receipts should note the odometer reading.
  • “Has the car been recalled?
    • Was any safety-recall work performed? When?
  • Are you the first owner?
    • If buying from a private seller, you want to know how owners the car has had.
  • Who is the primary driver?
    • Is it the private seller who seems responsible or their teenager with a need for speed.

2. Inspect the Exterior

  • Inspect the ENTIRE car for dents, rust, scratches and anything that could indicate a repair.
  • Cracked windows are expensive to replace.
  • Suspension should be sitting level and the car should not be bounce. Tip: Pull on the top of each tire. If the tire feels loose or there is a clunking metallic sound, the wheel bearings and/or suspension joints may need service.
  • Headlights and reflectors should not have cracks and not have any foggy moisture.
  • Tires should have even wear across the treads on all tires.
  • Tires must have at least 1/16 inch of tread to be legal. Insert a quarter into the tread groove, with Washington’s head down. If you can see the top of Washington’s head, the tire needs to be replaced.
  • Wear on the outside shoulder of the front tire, edge of the sidewall indicates heavier aggressive driving.
  • More wear on the middle of the tire than the side of the tire indicates overinflated tires.
  • Spare tire should be in good shape with jack and lug wrench. 

3. Inspect the Interior

  • Does interior smell like a new car or an ashtray? Odors caused by smoke and mold from water damage may be expensive to get rid of.
  • Do ALL the seats work properly?
  • Gas and brake pedal worn or lightly used? Check the rubber on the pedals for wear.
  • Dashboard instruments and controls.
  • Make sure all the dashboard lights – especially check engine light – work by starting the car.
  • Do the AC and heat controls work properly? Does the AC quickly cool the car or does the AC need to be recharged? How does the air smell when the heat is on high?
  • Speakers and sound system.
  • Check if your phone or other devices connect and work properly with the car. Does the bluetooth work? How about the AUX cable port?
  • Roof Upholstery
    • Does the roof sag or are there any water spots? Sunroof or windows that improperly close may leaks and cause water damage.

4. Pop the Hood

  • Check the battery condition
  • If the battery has filler caps, clean the caps, unscrew the caps and look at the liquid level. If the level is low, the battery may be working too hard and a mechanic may need to conduct a load test on the battery.
  • Some batteries have a charge indicator. Green indicates a full charge while Yellow or Black indicates that the battery needs to be replaced.
  • Belts and hoses are in proper working condition if the rubber is firm and flexible, not dry, cracked or too soft. Perform the check by squeezing up and down the rubber belt and hoses.
  • Engine oil should be dark brown or black with no grit. If the dipstick has water droplets on it, grey or foamy oil, then there may be serious issue with a cracked engine block or blown gasket.
  • Transmission fluid should be pinkish, not brown with no metallic particles on the dipstick. It should smell like oil, not burnt. Automatic Transmission fluid must be tested with the engine warmed up.  
  • Brake and power-steering fluids should be within the marked safe levels.
  • Radiator coolant should been greenish or orange, not a milky or rusty color. Also check the rubber hose connecting the radiator to the plastic reservoir.

 5. Check Under the Car

  • If you can get under the car, check for oil leaks, red or green engine fluid leaks.
  • Touch the tailpipe, the smudge on your hand should be dry and dark grey. If it is black and greasy, that indicates oil burning and the car producing higher emissions.
  • Check the exhaust system line for rust. It is not uncommon for cars from colder climates to have mufflers fall off due to rust.
  • Welding and fresh undercoating may indicate past structural repairs.
  • On a front wheel drive car, examine the constant velocity joint boots inboard of the front wheels. They are round black-rubber bellows at the end of the axle shafts. If they are split and greasy, this indicates a bad CV joint that is a very expensive repair.

6. Get a Diagnostic from an Independent Mechanic

  • Before you sign off on the buying the car, ask the dealership to lend you the car to have an independent mechanic to check it out. A common practice is to leave your identification with the dealership. If buying from a private seller, offer to follow the seller to the mechanic for inspection.
  • Diagnostic jobs are approximately $100 depending on the mechanic. Using the diagnostic repair, you are in a better position to negotiate the price of the car.

Protect Yourself from Lemon Cars

The bottom line is, cars are a big life investment and fighting for your rights can be complicated.  Make sure you get everything in writing and keep all of the documents from the deal.  If something doesn’t make sense, have the dealership explain it.  If you think you are being taken advantage of or if the car is having problems that just don’t seem right for a car you just bought, contact a lawyer because you may be able to do something about it.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, please email me at David@KasellLawFirm.com or call (718) 404-6668. I look forward to working with you!

This material may be viewed as attorney advertising and does not constitute legal advice. This information does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the author. This article strictly represents the personal views of the author on the date it was written and such views are subject to change without notice. 

Scam: Yo-Yo Car Sales Trap

You just signed the sales contract to buy your dream car. You were promised low rate financing by the car dealership’s manager of Finance and Insurance. You drive your new car home and show it off to your friends, family, coworkers and neighbors. Everything is going great until you receive the “yo-yo” car scam phone call from the car dealership.

On the “yo-yo” phone call, the dealership tells you that you did not qualify for the financing rate agreed upon on the sales contract that you signed. Further, they tell you to come back to the dealership with your new car. At the dealership, they tell you that you need to sign a new contract with a higher interest rate and/or pay an even bigger down payment.

Today, car buyers – especially those with bad credit – are falling prey to a scam known as “yo-yo,” “bait-and-switch” and “spot financing.”

The “yo-yo” or “spot financing” scam means that the buyer is sold the car on the spot and drives off the lot before loan financing approval is complete. Dealerships know that when a buyer drives home with the new car, posting pictures of it on Facebook, showing it off to coworkers, the buyer grows attached – it would be humiliating to be forced to return the new car simply because the financing fell through. Further, most consumers are not savvy about negotiating with banks and lenders for the best financing rates. Knowing this, dealers prey on consumers eager to drive off with a new car without first securing a loan from a third-party lender.

Dealers will try to make you pay a bigger down payment and sign a new contract with higher interest rates by:

  • Making it seem like signing the dealer’s new contract is your only option.
  • Threatening to…
    • Destroy your credit by reporting you to credit agencies.
    • Repossess the vehicle.
    • Report the vehicle as stolen, leaving you stranded at the dealership.
    • Report you to your employer.
    • If you are in the military, threaten to report you to your base command.
  • Claim that…
    • Your credit is lower than it it really is, making the dealer’s new contract with a bigger down payment and higher interest rate seem like the best deal you can get.
    • They did everything to obtain a loan with a loan rate even though the dealership did not submit the paperwork to third-party lenders.

4 Ways to Avoid “Yo-Yo” Financing Scams

    1. Save up for your next car and pay in cash, instead of taking out a loan.
    2. Buy a used car for a better deal and value–New cars rapidly depreciate when driven off the lot.
    3. Shop around at reputable banks and credit unions for a loan. Get pre-approved for a loan before car shopping. Third-party lenders pay dealerships more for high interest rate loans. Never let a dealer arrange a loan financing.
    4. Avoid advertisements saying,“Bad Credit? No Problem! 0% Financing!” . Dealerships use these advertisements to lure in unsuspecting buyers, especially those with bad credit or low-income.

4 Things To Do If A Dealership Attempts Yo-Yo Scam and Demands Return of the Car

    1. Have a friend follow you to the dealership in another car. If the dealership demands that you sign a “new contract” with a higher interest rate, do not sign and have your friend drive you home.
    2. Get everything in writing. Have the dealership put in writing that you failed to qualify for financing under the original contract. By putting it in writing, the dealership is admitting that the original contract is no longer valid due to lack of financing. If the dealership refuses to put it in writing, leave the car at the dealership and write a letter to the dealership explaining that they refused to put in writing that the original financing was not approved and the original contract is no longer valid.
    3. Never sign a new contract with higher interest rates or a larger down payment. The “yo-yo” scam takes advantage of the buyer’s attachment to the new car and uses intimidation tactics to force the buyer to agree to worse terms than the original contract.
    4. Stay calm and contact an attorney specializing in auto law. Dealerships may pressure you into signing a new contract by threatening your credit, reputation and reporting the car as stolen. Stay calm, leave the car and keys at the dealership. The dealers may even refuse to return your down payment. Stay calm and contact an attorney.

Protect Yourself from Yo-Yo Financing and other Scams

The bottom line is, cars are a big life investment and fighting for your rights can be complicated.  Make sure you get everything in writing and keep all of the documents from the deal.  If something doesn’t make sense, have the dealership explain it.  If you think you are being taken advantage of or if the car is having problems that just don’t seem right for a car you just bought, contact a lawyer because you may be able to do something about it.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, please email me at David@KasellLawFirm.com or call (718) 404-6668. I look forward to working with you!

This material may be viewed as attorney advertising and does not constitute legal advice. This information does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the author. This article strictly represents the personal views of the author on the date it was written and such views are subject to change without notice.